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5 Fun Activities in NYC for Adults
August 2, 2023 By CityPASS
The city that never sleeps has earned its nickname for a reason: New York City is a vibrant metropolis packed with opportunities for big kids without bedtimes (aka grown-ups). The list of fun activities for adults in NYC is long, varied, and ever-evolving, but there are some classic NYC activities that never go out of style.
Our 5 Picks of Top NYC Activities for Adults
It can be tough to choose what to do when you’re in a city filled with endless options. Luckily, we’ve been around the boroughs and have rounded up a few must-do New York activities.
1. Embark on a Scenic Voyage with City Cruises
Affording you views of the entire city from the water, City Cruises has an amazing vantage advantage. From your peaceful perch on a smooth-sailing ship, you’ll enjoy stunning views of NYC’s storied sights, including the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, One World Trade Center, and Governors Island.
You can choose from two cruise types, both of which depart from NYC’s Pier 15. They are:
- NYC Downtown Sightseeing Cruise
This 90-minute cruise departs multiple times daily to travel along the East River, through New York Harbor, up the Hudson River, and back along Lower Manhattan’s shoreline. Get the inside scoop on all you see with guided narration on their recommended audio tour guide app, conveniently available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Italian, Mandarin, Japanese, and Korean.
- Alive After Five
During this two-hour happy hour voyage, you can indulge in specialty cocktails and scrumptious bar snacks while your onboard DJ spins tracks worthy of New York’s splendid skyline. Treat yourself to upgrades like the "Hungry Sailor" (which includes buffet stations serving pasta, Tex-Mex, and Asian dishes) or the "Fully Overboard" (which includes premium drinks in addition to the buffet stations).
City Cruises is a great option if you’re after group activities NYC adults will enjoy — simply choose the cruise that’s right for your crew.
2. Experience New York Like Never Before at Edge at Hudson Yards
The Edge at Hudson Yards must be seen to be believed.
As the highest sky deck in the Western Hemisphere, it’s not for the faint of heart (or the afraid-of-heights), but it does offer unparalleled panoramic views of Manhattan and an experience you won’t ever forget.
An exhilarating elevator ride takes you 100 stories high in less than 60 seconds, so take a deep breath before exiting — you’ll need the extra oxygen to handle the breathtaking view awaiting you. When you step outside, you'll find yourself floating above New York City on a 1,100-foot-high sky deck jutting 80 feet into the air.
After a sumptuous meal at Peak Restaurant and Bar and a few flutes of champagne, you may feel bold enough to stand on the glass floor or peek over the edge of the deck, with nothing but angled panels standing between you and an aerial view of the bustling streets below. Needless to say, the Edge is undeniably among the most fun activities in NYC for adults at night.
3. Immerse Yourself in Art at the Museum of Modern Art
Craving culture on a rainy day? You’ll find no shortage of indoor activities. NYC, for adults, is a veritable playground of acclaimed theaters, cozy bookstores, and amazing museums. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is a cultural institution that's home to an astounding collection of 200,000 works of modern and contemporary art. Located in Midtown Manhattan, it’s just a few blocks away from the Upper East Side.
This world-renowned museum showcases unmissable masterpieces from artists like Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo, and Henri Matisse in addition to hosting special exhibits and new galleries regularly. However, MoMA also boasts numerous collections not limited to paintings. These include photography, architecture, sculpture, illustration, audio, design, and performance pieces, apart from the Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden.
4. Hop on a Ferry to Liberty and Ellis Islands
One ferry can take you to two important places: Ellis Island and Liberty Island.
Ellis Island welcomed 12 million immigrants to New York Harbor between 1892 and 1954. Today, the island is open to anyone interested in learning more about this pivotal period in American history. In fact, there's a three-story museum located in the original Main Hall Complex where immigrant screenings occurred. The Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration features old photographs, historical records, and original luggage from that era.
A short ferry ride from the historic island, you’ll find the Statue of Liberty. A gift from France to the US (dedicated in 1886 after 21 years of work), the iconic statue symbolizes freedom, democracy, and friendship between the two countries. Today, it stands proud as the most famous landmark in NYC — and a seriously popular tourist attraction.
Both the pedestal and the crown offer outstanding views, but bring your walking shoes! It’s 215 steps to the pedestal observation deck, and you'll have to climb an additional 162 steps to reach the crown. If that's a lot, you can simply skip the stairs and visit the interactive galleries at the Statue of Liberty Museum and get a more relaxed video tour of the landmark.
5. Reach New Heights at the Iconic Empire State Building
We would be remiss if we didn’t include the Empire State Building on our list. Currently the 54th tallest building in the world, this beautiful building is a work of American art in Art Deco style.
A redesigned entrance features a two-story, full-scale model of the building beside a grand staircase. On the second floor, you can check out the newly added museum for exhibits and memorabilia. After that? Ascend 1,050 feet above the city to the famous 86th Floor Observatory for interior and exterior 360-degree views spanning up to six states. Yes, states. New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Delaware are all visible on a clear day.
If you want more, you can always upgrade and travel up the building’s mast in a glass elevator to the 102nd Floor Observatory, or schedule your visit at sunset for a truly spectacular sight.
Get the Most out of Your Trip to NYC With CityPASS®
When it comes to activities for adults, NYC delivers. However, when it comes to deals on those activities, CityPASS® delivers. Choose from our best-selling New York CityPASS® tickets, compact New York C3® tickets, or expansive New York C-All® tickets for up to savings on the above adventures and other popular destinations. No matter what you pick, we guarantee that our range of tickets will make your trip less expensive — and way more fun.
New York City Lodging
To get the most out of your stay in New York City, we recommend finding lodging near New York City's top attractions. Use this map to find the right lodging for you: